The Media Didn’t Learn a Thing after Boston

You’d think after so much public derision over their terrible job reporting on the Boston bombing situation, the media would think it wise to step back and consider how they report on breaking events and whether they are contributing to a sense of panic by printing and announcing every rumor they hear. I think it is safe to say that the Philly media definitely didn’t learn anything.

Here’s what I can tell you about a story that has apparently been unfolding since 9:00am today at the Independence Visitor Center in downtown Philly.

The local paper says that the Center was closed down because of a bomb threat in their headline. When you read the article, you find out that there was no actual threat just a perception that a guy who looked funny because he wore a camo coat on a cold day had some clothes and junk in his car may have possibly been a threat that involved a bomb.

A local tv station reports nothing about concerns about a bomb, but that SWAT teams were on the scene because the guy in the camo coat may have also had his face painted. There’s no mention of clothes or junk in his car, just that police shut down the main parking garage in the area in order to search every corner for anything suspicious before giving an all clear.

So the only clear facts that appear to be consistent are that a guy was wearing a coat on a cold day, the coat was apparently in a camouflage pattern, he had a car parked in a parking garage, and that the Philly police felt the best response was to shut down a major landmark and the parking garage because of this man wearing a coat on a cold day. Oh, and they also agree that he was hauled off in handcuffs, but officials are unwilling to say why he was detained.

At this point, even if there is a reasonable explanation for the police response, the reporting by at least one of these outlets–if not both–is irresponsible and clearly geared toward promoting fear in order to draw eyeballs. That’s why neither story is getting a link at the moment. Neither one deserves to be rewarded for reporting that appears to be, under the most generous descriptions, sloppy at best.

UPDATE: Another report actually relies on on-the-record statements from the police. Can you imagine the insanity behind such caution and restraint?

So far, the facts appear to be that a man was wearing camo (no mention of face paint) and that he had a car that was dirty. This alone was enough for police to determine that he should be taken into custody even though they admit that the K9 unit and bomb squad found absolutely nothing in his car but junk. Now this might be my crazy libertarian side coming out, but last time I checked, possession of shitty fashion sense and dirty cars isn’t actually a crime.

Is there no one else disturbed by the apparent extreme police state on display here? Are urban dwellers that content to give up their civil liberties?

13 Responses to “The Media Didn’t Learn a Thing after Boston”

  1. RP says:

    I don’t see this behavior ever changing. The first and most sensationalist reports will draw the most eyeballs and make the most money.

    I wonder if the decline of print and television media has caused some desperation making the problem worse. That makes some sense, but I suspect they’ve always been full of shit.

    • Pyrotek85 says:

      I think it’s just become more obvious to us now that we have the Internet to check other sources, we’re not at the mercy of a local paper or news station now.

  2. David says:

    The guy obviously wasn’t a muslim spouting jihadi propaganda on the internet, or the FBI would have questioned him and sent him on his way.

  3. Dustoff 28 says:

    These are the same people we are to believe when they call gun control laws “common sense”!

  4. Roberta X says:

    It’s Boston, Ma’am. We dassen’t go to Boston.

  5. Geoff says:

    Damn, I better never go to Philly with my dirty truck and worn Carhartt coat. Probably call out seal team six on me.

    Went to a local Second Amendment Rally in my County (Susquehanna, up in the NE corner) last Friday. Haven’t seen that many State Troopers in Susquehanna County in my ten years here. Crowd was mostly retirees, it was a friday and folks who still have jobs were out doing them. Lots of proclamations and boring speeches.

    Seemed there were more LEO than anyone else, did they expect Ma and Pa Kettle to riot?

    Guess I’m on another list, lots of folks taking photos.

  6. Brad says:

    I’ve been looking for information about the guns of the Boston bombers without much luck. Has anyone seen anything substantive yet? Anything about what the weapons were or how they were acquired?

    I saw the Mirror claim they had a handgun and rifle.

    • Bitter says:

      All I have seen is the AP report verifying that they did not legally possess them since they didn’t have gun licenses. Gee, shocking that people willing to build bombs and detonate them in crowds didn’t bother with getting their guns legally.

  7. lookin back charlie says:

    Look there on the TV screen…immortality…it’s yours…take it

    Brad Pitt from TROY movie

  8. Thomas says:

    I’ve stopped watching news on tv for some time now because of this behavior.

  9. Jay says:

    The media also had us all believing Boston was under some sort of martial law and that nobody could leaver their homes under threat of arrest. A bit of an exaggeration…

  10. Rwilson451 says:

    Around here, If swat was called out every time someone parked a dirty truck with junk in it and was wearing camo they would never get any sleep.

  11. Andy B. says:

    What is chilling about this story is that some years back, that could have been me — parking an old beater with homemade wooden roof racks in the parking garage under Independence Mall, while wearing a camo jacket. Ironically, because I was going across the street to transact some business at the Federal Reserve.